Posts Tagged ‘elementary art’

An Artful DayThrough the Eyes of a Child

March 15, 2013

After a week of making art, I was given a luxurious opportunity today to leave the studio and enjoy someone else’s art for a change.  A former student of mine invited me to join her family and view art work from the hand of her first-grade daughter, on display in a public venue.  I have had the privilege over the last couple of years to witness this young girl’s artistic explorations, by way of digital images sent to me.  But today I actually beheld her work in the original, along with a host of elementary school pieces in the display.  The freshness and originality of vision just took my breath away.  I had experienced joy before, seeing photos of her creating art work in her home on Saturday mornings, or during inclement weather.  But I was not prepared for what I saw today, and was touched deeply by the flicker of pride lighting her countenance, as she saw her work displayed prominently.

The entire display was magnificent.  Funding for the visual arts in Texas public schools is very slim, and given grudgingly, unlike funding for sports or performing arts.  But these restricted funds have not been able to amputate the spirit, or truncate the effectiveness of dedicated public school elementary art teachers.  Though often relegated to pushing an art cart up and down the corridors, from classroom to classroom, restricting students to once-a-week art sessions, the history and culture of the visual arts is still poured into these young spirits, and it manifests itself in these public displays.  I am a teacher of art history in a public high school, and I know it was no fluke to witness echoes of Matisse, Van Gogh, Warhol, Monet and Kahlo seething on the surfaces of these drawings, paintings and mixed-media endeavors.  These young spirits have been given the opportunity to know firsthand the  fullness and felicity of a well-rounded life that the visual arts make possible.

When I was a boy, I didn’t quite understand the motto carved over one of the portals of the Saint Louis Art Museum:



Now, in my later years, I feel it more than ever before, and this young artistic spirit today renewed that sentiment.  Hats off to her teacher, the other elementary art teachers and willing students of that school district.  May others capture your vision.

Thank you for reading.